Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, offered a 19-year-old $5,000 to shut down a Twitter account that follows his private flights, according to the teenager. Jack Sweeney uses a bot he designed to operate 15 flight-tracking accounts that automatically post when a celebrity’s flight departs or arrives at an airport.
Since June 2020, Sweeny’s Twitter handle @ElonJet has been using public data from the Federal Aviation Administration to track Elon Musk’s private jet. @ElonJet will send regular updates on the plane’s whereabouts, such as when it lands in Austin after a six-hour flight.
However, after finding that this position data was public, Musk reportedly claimed that air traffic control is primitive, implying that he’d rather change the system than adapt.
Why Stalk Elon Musk?
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is an idol to many. One of the reasons why so many people follow him on social media is his great interest in science and technology. Another reason Musk is being sought after is his proactivity on social media.
Air Traffic Control, According to Musk, Is “Primitive”
The “Elon Musk’s Jet” account on Twitter (@ElonJet) tracks the billionaire’s private jet’s movements using bots that constantly analyze air traffic data. In other words, this is public information that was merely retweeted.
Despite having broken no rules, the 19-year-old Jack Sweeney received a message in the fall of 2021 at 12:13 a.m. EST that read: “Is it possible for you to take this down? It poses a security threat “, according to the information provided in the report.
“Yes, I can,” Sweeney replied, “but it’ll cost you a Model 3 just kidding unless?” Musk shot back, saying he didn’t “enjoy the concept of being shot by a nutcase.”
Following a few back-and-forth interactions, Musk offered Sweeney $5,000, but Sweeney reacted, saying, “Any possibility to boost that to $50k? It would be a wonderful support in college and would perhaps let me acquire a car, maybe even a Model 3,” according to Protocol.
Musk indicated he’d think about it, but as of this writing, he hadn’t responded in any manner. According to the article, Sweeney told Musk where he got the data, but Musk answered, “Air traffic control is so primitive.”
The report did not say whether the messages themselves were shared with Protocol. Of course, Musk could have been joking when he made this remark. It’s also possible that Musk does not consider Air Traffic Control to be “primitive,” even though it permits millions of people to fly safely every day. It’s possible, however, that he was being serious.
The Net Worth of Elon Musk
Musk’s statement is concerning. If he believes that air traffic control is primitive because all civilian air traffic data is shared openly rather than treating private jets differently than everyone else, this may be viewed as anti-democratic.
Other institutions frequently use more than one norm, depending on their members’ financial status (some sorely needed, like welfare). However, the more public organizations, services, and agencies collaborate with billionaires and bend to their whim, the more stratified society will become.
Musk, on the other hand, isn’t wholly wrong when it comes to “security risks,” which he mentioned in a tweet earlier this month. According to a Forbes article, Musk is one of the world’s most recognized tech CEOs, with a personal net worth of more than $240 billion (as of Thursday).
With one of the largest sums of money at his disposal, Musk may be able to pursue alternative options that are more effective. Instead of paying off everybody who dares to access public data and broadcast it on Twitter, Musk might acquire numerous private planes and fly them all at the same time, making it impossible to tell which one he’s on.
Of course, this assumes that his location isn’t likewise monitored by the public. But others in the world might take advantage of bad feelings towards a very wealthy CEO and try to do trouble. With many private jets flying to different destinations, it’s unlikely that anyone will know which one he’s on.
It might also prevent the awkward situation of elevating the location of some of the more financially well-off passengers above the rest of us. Nevertheless, it is only a suggestion.